A team of researchers harnessed the power of the Subaru Telescope in an attempt to track down the outermost edge of the Milky Way. According to data collected with the help of the telescope, the galaxy has an impressive radius of 520,000 light years, up to 20 more significant than the distance between the galactic center and our solar system( which reaches 26,000 light years).
It is thought that the stars which can be found in these remote areas are ancient, and they can be as old as 12 billion years. The orbital motion of these stars is quite fascinating, and it may play an essential role in understanding how the galaxy formed.
It is well-known that the galaxy features an extended halo component along with the stellar disk which inspired the name of Milky Way. Within the halo, we can find up to 1 billion ancient stars and 250 globular clusters which may have age as old as 12 billion years. This means that the halo retains the remnants of the oldest stars in the galaxy. It is also inferred that the galaxy was considerably more extensive before the disk began to form.
The outermost edge of the Milky Way spotted with the Subaru Telescope
It can be said that the exploration of the halo is similar to trying to find the outer limits of a forest without living the woods in question. As expected, the task is quite complicated, and researchers rely on the blue horizontal branch ( also known as BHB) stars and RR Lyr variables to estimate the traits of the halo.
These particular stars are great for this task since they shine so bright that researchers can determine the distance between and to the.
TH Hyper Suprime-Cam mounted on the Subaru Telescope allowed the team to observe the faint halo traces found near the outer edge of the galaxy. Some scientists believe that the merging process differs from one galaxy to another. It is hoped that the researchers will find valuable data in the future.